Disclaimer: No, no, no, and no.

Author's Note: Yet another piece of proof that I'm going directly to hell. I wrote this idea up at mass… during a sermon… on a church pamphlet. (But the guy who was lecturing didn't even believe in God, so I guess that clears my name. At least a little… maybe.)

Enjoy. :3

PS. I LOVE YOU "DEATH NOTE" FANFIC READERS. You actually REVIEW! Thank you SO MUCH for all of your previous responses to my work, and please keep it up!

Warnings: Chain misusage. (…okay, no. Not like THAT.)

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Memento Mori

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"Do you believe in God, Yagami Light?"

The murmured inquiry echoed through the empty congregation, bouncing off an endless sea of cherry-wood pews and torn cranberry hymnals. Refractions and reflections of colored light poured upon them in rosy tints; crouched upon his dark-stained seat, L's white shirt had become a kaleidoscope of dusky dyes. Ancient dust swirled in the sacred sunbeams pushing through the round, stained mosaics; directly before them, the white marble altar stood in solemn silence.

Light's auburn gaze flicked sideways, following the silvery chain that linked them together. "…I suppose it depends on your definition of God."

For a moment, L did not respond: his unblinking eyes remained glued to the mahogany crucifix hanging on the far wall. He bit his thumb…

Then, in an unforeseen rush, the slumped detective unfurled: feet on the bench, back straight and tall, arms to the sky, crying out in a voice that rung forever in the crisscrossed buttresses of the chapel, "Genesis 1:1— In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth! The earth was without form, empty and void. Darkness covered the ocean, and God's spirit moved upon the face of the waters. Then God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light!"

Outside, the sun seemed to surge: L was bathed in a bright ray of rainbow sunlight. For an unending moment in time, his entire body appeared to glow—haloed, hallowed, and pure.

And then, just as suddenly, he had curled back in upon himself; the heavy links of their chain clattered deafeningly as they reconnected with the grain of their shared pew. The detective turned his head, staring coolly at his companion. "…that sort of God," he then clarified, his voice strangely soft in the wake of his preaching.

Light smirked faintly, eyes gently closed and crossed foot tapping. "…and Light said, 'Let there be God.'"

"So you do believe," L muttered, sticking his finger back in his mouth and returning his gaze to the hanging cross. The sorrowful face of Jesus gazed pitiably back at him.

"I believe in man's ability to do anything, become anything," Light amended, breathing in the heavy scent of wax that hung in the stale, incense-kissed air. "Much like a god, if you will."

"So you believe that you can become God," L paraphrased. For the first time that evening, his smooth forehead crinkled in thought; he bit harder on the fleshy pad of his thumb.

Light's small sneer twisted sardonically. "Does that make me Kira?" he drawled, sounding bored.

The young detective shrugged. "You have always been Kira, since the day God created you."

A predictable answer; there was no point in arguing anymore. Instead, Light decided to view this statement from a new angle: "Oh. That's a surprise," he blinked, genuinely intrigued— sounding as if he'd just discovered a new source of entertainment. "You believe in God, Ryuuzaki?"

Ryuuzaki pursed his thin lips. "I believe in justice."

"You believe God is justice?"

"No." A pause; L frowned. Then he straightened—just a fraction, just an inch—but still a noticeable show of pride from the great detective. "I believe I am justice."

Light couldn't stop a little leer from pulling up the corners of his mouth; with effort, he bit back a laugh. "So you think that you are God?" he summarized, clearly enjoying this blatant display of hypocrisy. But before he could pursue the subject further, Ryuuzaki began to steadily shake his head, sinking back into his seat once again. Outside, the sky was darkening from the vivid reds of sunset to the navy purples of twilight.

"No. I know that I am merely a man," he breathed, wrapping his lanky arms around his knees. And for an instant, he looked decidedly small… "Memento mori."

"'Remember that you are mortal,'" Light calmly translated, leaning forward with his arms upon his knees. "Wise words."

"Do you remember?"

The quiet question was laden with hinted accusations, with apparent double meanings. Light chanced his foe a furtive, slanted glance; it was no use—L was too alert. Their different colored eyes met and locked and filled with words that neither would ever admit to, for so many different reasons.

With effort, Light ripped his gaze away. "I do," he whispered. I remember that you are mortal.

His ticking watch felt abruptly heavy. Odd… there was no reason for it to feel so.

Distracted by this conundrum, Light failed to fully register the similar feeling that had overtaken his shoulders. Once he had, however, he started, startled; it didn't take long for him to understand that this sensation, rather than being connected to his conscience, was instead the product of the material world: when he hadn't been paying attention, L had draped a portion of their lengthy chain around his neck.

And then, before the teenager could protest, the detective looped the metal rope around his throat once more, tightening his grip on either end of the shackles.

Light knew better than to struggle.

"…what would you do if I pulled?" L asked in a whisper, his soulless stare broken only by stray wisps of his charcoal locks. "Would you scream? Would you try to kill me? Or would you simply… die?"

"Probably… the latter," Light hoarsely returned, fully aware of each and every ice-cold link that bit into his pallid neck. A dot of sweat trickled down his temple. "Without air, I can't breathe. Without breath, I can't live. I am no god, Ryuuzaki. Like you, I am only a man."

"…a man."

Ryuuzaki said nothing more for full three minutes; his unbroken stare began to fade into the growing gloom of the church. His steady hands neither tightened nor loosened around Light's make-shift noose, but after a while he started to pull forward…

Light had no choice but to follow; L slowly dipped his head.

The sun vanished from the horizon, plunging the room into darkness.

X

"…you taste like apples."

Standing with a snort, Light refastened the top buttons of his shirt, smoothing down his pants. "They are the forbidden fruit, you know," he joked huskily, rubbing his now-bruised throat. But the feel of his fingers reminded him of the chain tightening, forcing his mouth open farther, faster—the probing tongue that battled his own… the fuzzy ecstasy of his oxygen-deprived brain…

He lowered his hand again.

L tilted his head to the right, hunch-backed in the center aisle. "You would have needed to take an incredibly large bite to taste so predominantly of said fruit," he droned, scratching at his ankle with a foot.

Light chose not to answer this. Instead, he gathered his coat and joined Ryuuzaki on the narrow, carpet-lined path, walking briskly towards the distant double doors—

But stopped when the chain that bound them unexpectedly tightened: out of slack, taut and tense, pulling him backwards. Taken aback, the young man spun around to find that L had not moved a single inch. Rather, he stood slouched in the middle of the aisle, cold gaze fixed on his lover.

"…did you know, Yagami Light?" the older man murmured, his low voice reverberating through the abandoned sanctuary. "Gods of Death only eat red apples."

Silence.

Light sucked in a soft, involuntary breath; his murderous eyes widened the smallest of fractions. No one else would have noticed such a reaction… but no, this was L, and he noticed everything. As if in acknowledgment of this, Ryuuzaki graced his adversary with a rare smile: his mouth curling into the faintest of knowing smirks.

"Remember that you are mortal, Kira-kun," the young detective breathed, licking his sugar-sweet lips in the blackness. "Or you will not survive very long."

Between them, their silver bonds sang.

XXX